CMJ15

MEET IAN
December 22, 2015 9:00 am

Ian isn’t that nice boy from the library your mom wants you to meet. Ian is actually a dream pop trio that originated in Boston, during singer/writer Jilian Medford’s tenure at Berklee. Now based in Los Angeles, bandmates Medford, Tim Cheney, and Damien Scalise have released their eponymous EP and are working to bring their diaphanous sound to the masses.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS caught up with Jilian to chat about her time at the famous music school and the band’s first time at CMJ.

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You released your first EP during your senior year at Berklee. How did your experience there shape you as a musician? Was there a lot of competition between you and your classmates?

JM: Berklee is a very interesting school. Most of the kids I know and was close to while attending ended up dropping out after their 2nd or 3rd year. I had thoughts of doing the same but my mom wouldn’t let me and also I wanted to finish and walk in graduation with funny socks peeping through the bottom of my gown!

There is a lot of competition at that school, and it drove me to start exploring different ways of expression, because I just didn’t feel like I was pushing myself enough or I didn’t feel like I was fully executing my projects to my full potential. So I decided to seek out Mark Fede for our EP (he has worked bands like Guerrilla Toss and Fat History Month) and it was a huge step in the right and certain direction for this band.

The recording process was short and sweet and hot and sweaty in August of 2014. We mainly recorded this tape to have something to give people on our summer tour but it ended up taking many twists and turns in a positive direction that we are so grateful for! People actually listened, I didn’t really know what I expected but I just didn’t know if anyone would listen.

Your first CMJ festival was this year. Did anything stand out to you about your performance?

JM: Cake Shop was special! The spot itself reminds me a lot of this spot in Boston called Great Scott so it was a familiar vibe. It was the end of CMJ so the show was quaint and filled with familiar faces, plus a few new ones, and my best friend Ellen Kemper from Palehound came and it was the best surprise since she had been so busy all week.

Something that really stood out was a 60-year-old woman asking me if she could buy our shirt that says “don’t call me” on it, since she had just left her husband of 30 years and wanted to wear it next time they saw each other! Kick ‘em 2 the curb!

How did you prepare for the show?

JM: [The band] hung out in a practice space together and got our new songs all worked out so we could be comfortable dancing while playing them.

Did you discover anyone new?

JM: OooOoo!! Loved seeing PWR BTTM! That was my first time seeing them play and it was incredible. So intimate even though so many people were there, and they managed to engage every single person watching. It was admirable.

Always love seeing one of my favorite bands Kal Marks at the Exploding in Sound showcase as well as Palm! Got to catch Protomartyr at the Sub Pop showcase, had to pee the entire time during their set but it was worth the wait, their new record is fire fire FIRE!! And they are even better live; Joe Casey’s stage presence makes me think of Bill Murray.

Were you able to try the pizza while in New York? How did it compare to the pizza in LA or Boston (where you’re based now)?

JM: We did eat pizza, I remember it clearly because we ordered a chicken bacon ranch pizza and couldn’t stop chanting CHICKEN BACON RANCH down the street all night long. This is my breakdown of foods between BOSTON NY AND LA: Boston has the best donuts (dunkin donuts, strawberry frosted, keep it simple baby), NY has the best pizza and hot dogs, LA has the best Mexican food ~ taco trucks till infinity.

What can fans can expect to see from you in the future?     

JM: The future, especially this coming year is really exciting for us. We will be relocating to LA in the next couple months to see if that is the spot for us, or to at least escape for the winter, and finishing a record to come out later next year, which will hopefully be accompanied by a lot of touring and traveling and seeing new places, faces, plants and dogs!

CMJ RECAP WITH THE HARPOONS
October 28, 2015 12:14 pm

If you were lucky enough to be a part of CMJ this year, you may have caught a set by Melbourne quartet The Harpoons. Comprised of brothers Henry and Jack Madin, Martin King, and singer Bec Rigby, the band swiftly demands attention in live performances from Rigby’s powerful vocals and unique sound.

Ready For Your Love, the band’s newest single, features a melody that could only be inspired by a vacation in the Australian bush. Pair that with a music video recapping their recent Japanese tour, and you’ve got something special.

We spoke with Bec about her performing at CMJ 2015, discovering new music, and performing across the world.

 I saw your CMJ performance at Pianos and was blown away. Bec, how long have you been singing for? How did you and the band work out the unique sound you’ve all developed?

BR: Thanks a lot! We’ve all been singing pretty much our whole lives because we all come from musical families! We’ve been besties (and two of us are brothers!) for many years. We just kind of created this weird thing together from talking and playing and loving the same types of music.

There were a significant number of bands from Australia at this year’s CMJ. Were you able to catch any of their performances, or meet up with friends in bands who also traveled to New York from Australia for CMJ?

BR: Yes! Lots of our favourite bands played actually, so happy to see them all there. Friendships are one of our mega fave duo of legends – although Mish from Friendships fell off a roof really early in the week and broke her arm! She’s doing well now and her bandmate Nick did a KILLER job, he played his heart out, played for two. We also loved seeing Sui Zhen, who wears glorious shiny turtlenecks and sings about emotions and losing her internet connection. </3

Sadly we didn’t get to see many others – CMJ is a busy time!

Harpoons_2How did your CMJ go? Did anything stand out to you about your 4 performances?

BR: New York is amazing. They were all great. What stood out was how friendly pretty much everyone who came to see us was! We had super nice crowds.

How did you prepare for CMJ? Was it intimidating that you were booked for a series of dates at a music marathon on the other side of the world?

BR: For sure! We prepared by getting pretty stressed about it and practicing a lot, trying to make sure we were covered for the intense types of shows we’d be playing – 10 minute change over, 25 minute set – it can get pretty tight!

Who were your favorite bands from this year’s CMJ? Did you discover anyone new?

 BR: Yes! We saw this incredible trio of singers 90’s-style power pop singers with perfect synchronised dance moves at Pianos one night after we’d played, they were called Romance. If you ever get the chance, SEE THEM. Also blown away by GEORGIA at Rough Trade. She is so musical, watching her slam her songs on the drum kit and whip her hair around and say “WHOO” was mesmerising. Plus there was free packets of Pocky!

You performed in London immediately before coming to New York for CMJ. Do the crowds in the two cities differ at all?

 BR: We’ve played in Japan, UK and now USA and what was really cool for me is that we could see that people had the same connection to the music everywhere we went! It’s pretty inspiring playing a room full of people who haven’t seen you before and they seem to get where the music’s coming from, and get the emotions it’s trying to convey!

Were you able to try the pizza while in New York? How did it compare to the pizza in Australia?

 BR: I basically lived off $1 slices for a while there, and may I say the $1 slice is HIGHLY variable in quality. I had some best and some blurst ones. But the sheer joy of getting a slice bigger than your head for one measly dollar pretty much beats the disappointment of a bad one every time for me. NY pizza has stolen my heart.

I know you have a few more live performances scheduled for when you get back to Australia. Is there anything else fans can expect to be seeing from you in the future?

 BR: We have a lot of new music in the works actually, so fans can look forward to that coming out over the next year or so!

ON THE SIDEWALK WITH THE MILD HIGH CLUB
October 19, 2015 12:36 pm

Timeline by Mild High Club is one of those albums that makes you forget which decade you’re in, and like you’re melting into a shag carpet. Those are both compliments, in case it wasn’t clear.

Alexander Brettin, the man behind Mild High Club, is an LA-based musician who recorded the album with a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder, MacBook, 12-string electric guitar, PortaSound keyboard, bass, drum machine, software instruments “and whatever was lying around,”.

Brettin was in town to play tracks from the album during this year’s CMJ, part of a 20+ date tour, but did us the honor of a quick chat after his October 17th set at Pianos.

MILD HIGH CLUB BAND

I’ve never done an interview while sitting on the sidewalk before. Do you do that often?

AB: No, I don’t do too many interviews.

Well, I appreciate you talking with me. You’re in the midst of a really long tour right now, and you’re going to the UK next week. Are you looking forward to it, or are you fried?

AB: I’m totally looking forward to it. I couldn’t be more excited. I wish I had 30 hours in the day so I could sleep a little more, but I’m totally excited.

When I first heard your album, I thought you might be English because of how psychedelic it sounds. Do you get that a lot?

AB: No, I definitely listen to the Beatles way too much, though, so they’ve probably rolled off my tongue at times.

MILD HIGH

You also get compared to Mac DeMarco a lot, and you’ve performed with him as well. How do you feel about that comparison?

AB: Mac is a friend of mine, I think he’s a great songwriter and a fantastic dude. If the comparison is menacing by any standard, I think people are missing the point of why we make music in the first place. I take it as a compliment, the dude’s great. I get compared to everyone and their mother, so there’s nothing you can really do about critics. I think people run out of words to describe stuff, and then it’s easy to just say, “Oh, that sounds like David Bowie, or the Beach Boys, or Mac DeMarco, or Tame Impala, or Connan Mockasin.” I’ve gotten them all, and those are all great songwriters. I’m flattered.

Is this your first CMJ?

AB: Yes it is.

How is it going so far? I know you’ve done a number of shows as part of CMJ already, and you have another one tonight.

AB: It’s great. It’s fun to play music, and get out there, and do it.

Has anything happened during your shows this week that has stood out to you?

AB: A baby stood up at one of the shows and yelled at me, and that was cool. That was at the Knitting Factory. There was just a baby in a stroller, and I guess he liked it. He got up and hollered at us, and it was cute.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

AB: I have a couple tricks up my sleeve, I can’t say what. I never stop working, that’s for sure.

Can you give us a hint?

AB: It’s gonna be something musical, that’s all I’ll say. I won’t divulge too much.

GOOD MORNING, CAKE SHOP
October 15, 2015 9:49 am

How far do people travel to perform at Cake Shop? From the other side of the world apparently, though the CMJ music marathon certainly qualifies as a special occasion. Tuesday night saw Aussie band Good Morning, who came all the way from Melbourne to perform in the best basement in Manhattan. ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down with band members Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons for a chat after their brilliant set.

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This is my first show of CMJ, thank you for kicking it off with an awesome set! Is this your first time in New York?

SB: I’ve been here before.

LP: I’ve never been here before.

What do you think so far?

LP: It’s awesome. New York is the coolest place in the world.

Do you have more shows planned for CMJ?

LP: We have 7 more.

In the next 4 days? Is that exciting or terrifying?

LP: It’s exciting. We wish we had booked more.

SB: We tried to book as many as we could, so that we didn’t just come over here and do nothing.

LP: It’s like 36 hours on a plane.

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You guys are pretty far away. But now you’re here, and that’s all that matters.

SB: Exactly.

LP: We’re all jetlagged, but we’re feeling OK.

Have you gotten to do anything fun while you’re here?

SB: We’ve done heaps of fun stuff. We’ve only been here since Saturday…

LP: Just walking around is fun. Seeing shit.

It’s a great city to people-watch.

SB: It’s the best city, cause everything sounds like a sound bite from Grand Theft Auto. We went down the FDR the other day, and I was like “I know this street from Grand Theft Auto.”

LP: I’ve done terrible, terrible things on that street in that game.

Is that your favorite video game, or do you have another?

SB: I reckon that’s probably my favorite video game.

LP: It’s pretty great. It’s definitely top 3.

SB: I used to be really into Ratchet and Clank. That was a really good game. That was a big favorite of mine for many years.

LP: Goldeneye 007 was the greatest videogame of all time.

SB: Donkey Kong, Super Nintendo was genius also.

Have you tried the pizza in New York?

LP: We did. We went to this place on Broadway and 112th or something, and it was twice the fucking size of my head. And it was really, really good.

Is there anything you’d like to share with your audience?

LP: Sunbeam Sound Machine!

cakess

What is that Facebook page, Boycott Good Morning?

LP: It’s run by us, but it’s like…I think people actually like it.

SB: It’s all about condensing a community of haters, and making sure we have this community of people that really don’t like us.

LP: You know how on Facebook, you can see how many people like you?

SB: You also want the “anti-likes”.

All publicity is good publicity.

LP: There’s also a group called Boycott Boycott Good Morning. That’s not us.

Do you know them?

LP: Yeah, we do. They’re friends of ours.

SB: What would you like to share [with the audience]?

I guess that I hope the rest of CMJ goes as well for me as it has tonight.

Upcoming performances:

Friday, 10/16 at Black Bear Bar (6pm) and Our Wicked Lady (7:30pm)

Saturday, 10/17 at The Delancey (5:35pm)

Watch: Good Morning, “You/On the Street”